Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL)

[University of Otago CAUL Survey 22 July 97]
Apportioning of Periodicals Budget by Formulae

Updated 14 November, 1997
18 CAUL members responded to the following questions- 
(for full details see CAUL Formulae for Distributing Library Materials Funds)

1. How do you allocate your periodicals budget? Are you satisfied with its effectiveness and general acceptance? Are you intending to make any changes to your system of allocation?

6 libraries responded that they didn't use a formula. 9 responded that they allocated books and periodicals funds by formula. 3 responded that access and collection funds are allocated by formula.

2. If you use a formula (even a rough formula with lots of fudge factors) may we have a copy of it, including details about the factors you apply? Also, we are interested in where you source the information for factors you apply, eg average prices - your own or international figures?

Details available in Appendix 1.

3. If you use a formula, who devised it - library staff or others? Do you think that make a difference to its general acceptance?

In 3 libraries the formula was devised by library staff alone, in 7 the formula was devised by library staff in consultation with academics, in 2 the formula was devised by academics in consultation with library staff. Of those who responded most agreed it was important to involve academic staff in the process of devising a formula.

4. If you use a formula, what percentage do you allow for general purchases, and does that include reference material, and/or expensive material?

1 at 5%, 1 at 8%, 3 at 10%, 1 at 15%, 1 at 22.5%, 1 at 25%, 2 at 30%, 1 at 50%. Most included expensive material in the departmental allocation, and reference and cross disciplinary material in the general allocation.

5. We are also interested in the issues surrounding the implementation of formula. If you have implemented a formula based allocation of periodical funds...

Variety of opinion on the acceptance of formulae. No one formula satisfies everyone. When funds are restricted any methodology is questioned. Lack of flexibility. Huge amount of time required to set formula up. Loss of Library control and long term goal setting. If application of a formula results in rapid change then it won't be accepted.

Transparency. Quicker responses possible. Increased communication with departments. Appearance of equity. Avoids annual blood baths. Users have greater ownership of the collection. Generally accepted.

6. If you don't have a formula, have you investigated using one, and if so, why did you decide against using a formula? Do you intend revisiting the possibility of using formula?

Of the 4 that responded , 2 are currently investigating formula but have not yet reached agreement, one used to have a formula but abandoned it, 1 other is not investigating use of formulae.

7. If you don't have a formula, what is the process you use for cutting back support to departments with shrinking EFTS?

Usual method of coping with increased demands on periodicals budget is to allow new titles only if existing one(s) are cancelled.

8.Whether or not you use a formula, how do you make year by year adjustments to cope with publishers' price increases and varying exchange rates?

Most estimate budgetary needs based on industry expectations with cancellations when necessary. Prepurchasing currency at favourable exchange rates. One library has a July to July financial year which means subscription renewals are made at the beginning of the financial year.

9. Whether or not you use a formula, at what level do you track expenditure; library-wide, branch library, divisionally (faculty or school) or departmentally? Do you track this through the University's Finance system, or do you track it within the Library?

Most track in detail (by department and format) in the Library.

10. Are there any other issues we should be aware of?

Decisions on electronic resources, interdisciplinary titles, reference titles, undergrad material - not well suited to devolving to departments. Formula will face regular challenges. Actual needs should influence the formula. Formula will not solve all the problems, must be applied with discretion and the ability to adjust. Clear structure of authority required.

Compiled by Marilyn Fordyce

University of Otago Library
12 November 1997

[CAUL Home Page] [What's New] [Survey Register] [Conference Register] [Highlights from the Press] [Australian University Web Sites] [Other Web Sites] [Web Search Tools]

Send comments/suggestions/requests about this site ....

This site is written, compiled and maintained by Diane Costello, Executive Officer, CAUL.